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Gabella Gate, a contemporary insertion in a medieval site

The historic context in Chieti province, Italy, has been revived with a Cor-Ten steel structure

Rocco Valentini Architecture

Gabella Gate, a contemporary insertion in a medieval site
By Rocco Valentini -

The ruined “Porta Gabella” in Ripa Teatina in Chieti province, Italy, has been revived with the insertion of an architectural element that stands out from the context. The Cor-Ten® steel structure enclosed by an envelope of vertical strings gives a contemporary note to the medieval site. The aim of the intervention was to merge the urban fabric, ancient environments and pedestrian pathways of the old town with a polyfunctional structure that easily turns into an outdoor stage for musical and artistic performances too.


Cor-Ten® steel suspended walkaways

The suspended walkways, that connect the various structure

The insertion represents an interpretation of the medieval gate: its shape recalls two stylized doors that open outwards. The suspended walkways that connect the various parts of the structure take inspiration from the medieval walkaways that served as connection between the defensive towers. From the tower’s ground floor through a preexisting underground tunnel, you enter the adjacent building and thanks to a new stairway and Cor-Ten® steel walkaways, the architects created a link between the rooms of the Aragonese tower, the rooms of the garrisons and the alleys of the old town.


>>> Discover also Cervia’s Darsena del Sale, in Ravenna province, which has returned to rude health after a refurbishment combining archaeological fidelity with new functional needs


Reconstructing the tower’s original shape

Gabella Gate - The staircase in Cor-Ten steel Courtesy of Rocco Valentini Architecture

The defensive walls of Ripa Teatina, equipped with circular watchtowers that were added in the 15th century after the Aragonese conquest, encircled the south-eastern uninhabited area of the town, that was accessible through two large gates flanked by another watchtower. The gates were later demolished during the Second World War, leaving an urban void and a disconnection between the defensive structures and the town center. Where the Porta Gabella once stood, there was just a large stairway. Thanks to studies of floor plans and to historical photos, it was possible to reconstruct the tower’s original shape: originally it was connected to the adjacent building through a transversal masonry structure that allowed the direct passage between the two structures and made all the levels of the tower accessible.


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Location: Ripa Teatina, Chieti, Italy
Completion: 2022
Architect: Rocco Valentini Architecture
Design team: Rocco Valentini, Chiara Valentini, Pierluigi Di Nola, Mariangela Flamminio, Milena Vizzarri
Main Contractor: Impresa Edile F.lli Nicolò

Plant Equipment: Euroimpianti
Stuctures: Giuliano Peverati, Alessandro Geniola
Surveyor: Alessandra D'Alessio
Construction drawings: Mario Giordano

All images courtesy of Rocco Valentini Architecture

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